A Tough Few Weeks - Saying Goodbye

Friday, June 26, 2015

God saw you getting tired
And a cure was not to be
So he put his arms around you
And whispered, "Come With Me".

With tearful eyes we watched you
And saw you pass away
And although we love you dearly
We could not make you stay.

A Golden heart stopped beating
Hard working hands at rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us
He only takes the best.
~Frances and Kathleen Coelho

As I sit here trying to write this post for you all, I do find it very hard, but I consider you all my friends and am very grateful for the support of you all and feel I need to share with you what's been happening in my life the past few weeks, and why I was taking some time away. I hope you'll read the entire post. So, here it goes!

Many of you may not know this, some of you do, but in March if 2014 my grandmother, Evelyn, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Earlier this month, a couple weeks after her 75th birthday, as she was quickly beginning to feel the effects on her body, I felt an urgent need to get home to see her. She and I would send text messages back and forth from our ipads (yes, my grandmother with an ipad), and her responses were beginning to become less and less. It made me feel sad but I knew that it must mean she really isn't feeling well, and updates from my mom and family confirmed that. She was in a lot of pain, her stubborn side keeping her from taking her pain meds regularly, but was still healthy looking and taking her daily drives to the beach with my grandfather. I wanted to get home to spend a week or so with her while she was still having some good days, and help her if she needed it (if she accepted it). Then, she fell...

In the process of planning my trip my mom called me with this news. My grandmother was taken to the hospital with the expectancy of staying a couple of days. After a talk with the doctor she was finally getting some relief from her pain meds, and that allowed her to get some much needed sleep. That made me feel better, but then I got news that she would more than likely not be leaving the hospital, so I booked my flight home for 2 days later - the sooner the better.

When my mom picked me up at the airport back home, she had come straight from spending that past 2 days with my grandmother in the hospital. She filled me in on how Nanny was doing and what to expect - since last seeing my grandmother 8 months earlier I was going to notice a drastic chang,e so I needed to be prepared. No crying - that's the last thing Nanny would want me to do. My mom explained she needed a lot of medicine for pain, which sometimes left her a little loopy, and she needed a lot of help, although she still maintained her sassy attitude with her eye rolling and her "whatever"s, and still carried on conversations with other patients. So I was prepared that my week or so with my grandmother would be spent at the hospital, helping her when needed, but most importantly, making chit chat and memories, even if the circumstances weren't ideal. But, I was wrong...

That evening my mother and I planned that we'd leave the next day by noon to make the 2 and half hour drive to our hometown, and the hospital where my grandmother was at. My mom just needed to head to work in the morning for a few hours to get a few things done, and then we'd be off. But often things don't happen as you expect - a call the next morning from my aunt told us that my Nan's lung collapsed in the night, and her condition was quickly worsening. She said we had to come now and that, still, we may not make it in time. Thankfully, we did make it that day, though she was being kept sedated, but sadly, a day and a half later, on June 5th, surrounded by so many (about 25 people) children, grandchildren, family, and her husband (my Grampy), my Nanny passed away. I didn't get to spend those days I planned with her... she didn't even know I was coming since it was supposed to be a surprise. I like to think she knew I was there, though. I softly told her in her ear several times as I held her hand, "Nanny, it's me, Sam. I'm here. I love you."

In that tiny, crowded hospital room, if you don't think about all the pain that was being felt and all the tears being shed, or perhaps that's part of it, but in that moment as she slipped away with a single tear that trickled from her eye, with all that love surrounding her, it was so very beautiful.

Most of you who read my blog didn't know my Nanny, unless you're family or a friend or friend of the family. But she wasn't like a lot of grandmothers - not the stereotypical gray haired grandma in her rocker knitting, though she did enjoy her crafts and painting. As my sister so perfectly described in her eulogy "She was as sassy as any teenager I know!". But not only was her attitude sassy and youthful, she encouraged it in others, her children (9), and especially her grandchildren (20) and great grandchildren (9). Again, borrowing from my sister "She loved to see us push boundaries, bend rules, and be as big as we could be!" I'm so sad that my (someday) children won't have her in their lives, but it's our turn, as my nephew said, to teach what she taught us. From the day she found out she had cancer, she faced it more positively and bravely than you can imagine. With each appointment that brought her less than happy news, she kept smiling and laughing and enjoying life, surprising and inspiring everyone with her exuberance. Her spirits dwindled a bit after the doctor told her a couple months ago that he was stopping her chemotherapy because it wasn't working, but she was still determined to fight to the end, her stubbornness as strong as ever.

I think of her everyday... a lot. Most of those days still include tears. This is my first experience with real loss of someone I love, so I'm figuring out how I grieve. It's been hard and I know it will be for a while, but I swear I can hear her encouraging me to smile, and keep working hard, and to follow my dreams... with that I think I'll leave you with a quote my sister found while looking through some of my Nanny's things. It must have really meant something to her since she took the time to write it down and saved it.

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow."
~Langston Hughes

Love and miss you, Nan! We'll take good care of Grampy for you. Until we meet again you'll live forever in my heart, memories, and thoughts. See you in my dreams. xo

Sam ♡

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  1. Frieda (and Lyle) MartinJune 26, 2015 at 11:41 AM

    sorry for your loss...thank you for sharing, that is well written and well said. I am sure she is, was and will always be very proud of you!

    1. Thanks, Frieda... both of you! I love to tell people about her and how amazing she was and how hard she fought to be here. Thanks for reading. The memory of her spirit and her strong will is going to be something that helps me through a lot of challenges in my life. ♥

  2. Very nice same. like Frieda said, it is very well written. Nanny was a true inspiration that is for sure. Think of her while you're camping this weekend, she loved the outdoors and camping.

    1. Thanks, Mommy. I'm glad you liked it. I thought of her a lot while camping. Everywhere I turn something is reminding me of her. Especially Evelyns's Coffee Shop in downtown Banff. ♥ Love you! xo

  3. So sorry for your loss, that was beautifully written! It is very hard to lose someone we love that is very near and dear to our hearts. She sounds like a loving woman and you were lucky to have her in your life. I am sure she was proud of you and now she will be your angel and watch over you! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    1. Thank you so much, Melissa. She was very special and I feel so lucky to have had her as mine.

      I did notice that you left me a comment on my last post, too. That was also very appreciated and I did try to respond back a few days later when I felt up to it, but there was a glitch with my blog that I just finished fixing now. Just wanted you to know that your comment didn't go unnoticed and meant a lot to me that you were concerned. Thank you, again.


  4. It was nice to finally meet you after the funeral. Your Nana was my favorite Aunt and I loved her dearly. I will never forget her beautiful smile or her laugh. She was so witty and quick to come up with something comical. My heart hurt so badly when I found out she had cancer. I guess I was a little angry as I felt she didn't deserve to have this happen to her. I prayed and I prayer harder hoping for a miracle and that she would get well. Your Nana was one amazing woman as you know and loved by so many. Tight hugs and much love. So sorry for your loss.

    1. It makes me so happy to hear that people will remember her in that way! I think we all felt the same way; that she didn't deserve for that to happen to her. We all kept positive and hoped that she'd somehow beat it - after all, if anyone could, it would make sense that she would be one of those people, and she wanted to be here so bad. Thank you so much for commenting. Hugs to you as well! xo

  5. I just discovered your channel & found myself reading nearly all of your recent posts. I think you have a fantastic blog and I will shortly be on my way over to your channel. I am so sorry for your loss and sending my prayers and love your way.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Alexa. It's very rewarding to hear that people are enjoying my blog. It's a lot of hard work but I love doing it, so to hear that it's valuable to people means a lot! I will be getting thing ramped back up here any day now, so stay tuned for that; I have a new tutorial I am currently editing that I will post shortly, and plan on getting back to my regular posts like my week in review posts, monthly beauty buys, and art series.

      And, also, thank you so much for those kind words about the loss of my grandmother - still missing and thinking of her everyday. ♥


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